Council to rethink controversial £10m spending plan on revamp of Kellingley Social Club
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The local authority has confirmed it will ‘take another look’ at the proposal to upgrade Kellingley Social Club.
In February, the Labour-run council’s cabinet approved major investment to turn the building into a community hub.
It was intended that new facility would play host to sports, youth clubs and community groups, with a job centre and Citizens Advice bureau also based there.
Knottingley’s three Lib Dem councillors have described the project as ‘a waste of public money’ as many of the services are already available in the area.
Mark Lynam, the council’s corporate director for regeneration and economic growth, said today (May 31): “We remain absolutely committed to investing in Knottingley.
“After listening to feedback from the local community, we’ve reflected on the proposals put forward in February.
“So we’re taking another look to see if there is a better way we can meet the needs of local people with this investment.
“We’ll be keeping everyone updated as this takes shape.”
Pete Girt, a Knottingley ward councillor and Lib Dem group leader, welcomed the announcement, adding: “We have been calling for this for a long time.
“But we need to wait and see what the officers and senior cabinet members have to say when we get to meet with them.”
It is understood that cabinet members and senior council officers are due to meet with the club’s trustees.
Earlier this year senior councillors were told the full cost of the project was estimated to be £10.7m, mainly due to the poor condition of the building.
A council report stated that over “an anticipated asset life of 25 years” the total cost to the local authority would be around £17.1m.
Council leader Denise Jeffery told February’s cabinet meeting: “It is a large amount of funding that we are putting in.
“But Knottingley hasn’t had facilities for some time.
“They have lost a swimming pool and the library and this is putting something back.
“I know it is a massive amount of investment into an old building
“But I feel that this is the way forward.”
Criticising the decision at the time, Knottingley councillor Adele Hayes said: “Labour’s plans at the Kellingley Club will cost the equivalent of £2,630 to every household in Knottingley and Ferrybridge.
“This is outrageous. Residents should be asking for a refund.”
Coun Girt described the controversy surrounding the social club as “the key issue” in Knottingley as he took over the Lid Dem leadership after this year’s local elections.
In an interview earlier this month he said: “We are no further forward with what is happening.
“Most people in the area don’t want what they are planning to do.
“Knottingley already has most of the facilities that they are proposing.
“Some of the things are just downright inappropriate.
“They are planning to put drink and drug treatment services in a building that serves alcohol.
“You wouldn’t put a slimming club next to a bakery or a Gamblers Anonymous above a William Hill betting shop.”